“CardNation, if you’re reading this you have survived the dead season. And if you’ve come this far, maybe you willing to come a little further. You remember how to get to the stadium don’t you?”
–LJ tha Fiasco
OK , so I totally jacked the above line from one of my all time favorite movies but you get the point. This feels like the scene where Red finally makes it to Buxton and reads the letter that Andy had left him detailing the next move. If you have not seen The Shawshank Redemption please stop reading this now and correct that mistake.
Anyways, the BHK is here today solely to ask AND answer 30 burning questions you may or may not have for the upcoming 2017 football season. 30 days from today the Louisville Cardinals will take the field against Big Ten opponent Purdue in Indianapolis. There are reasons for excitement as well as some for concern, but either way after reading this I will have either eased some doubts or caused a full-on anxiety attack.
So before you load up the cooler, attach the car flags, dig your favorite t-shirt out, and misplace your game ticket. Here are 30 questions and answers regarding Cardinal Football……Fiasco style.
30. Will the offensive line improve?
Two words, three syllables. MIKE SUMMERS. This guy could take the offensive line of your favorite pee-wee team and do work. Just look at what he did for us during Bobby’s first stint as coach here. Running backs like Bush, Smith, Shelton, Gates, Brock Friggin Bolin, all had success behind a Summers coached line. He is the offensive line whisperer and this line has already hit rock bottom (last in sacks allowed) so they can only improve from here.
29. Where will the team run out?
Due to the expansion of the north side of the stadium, the team will not be able to run out of their normal spot. I mean they could but not sure the construction crew will like that and we don’t need players getting nails in their foots. My guess is we will run out of the same place as the visitors team does which should be fun times especially when Clemson comes to town. As long as they make it to the field we couldn’t care less.
28. Where will Johnny U end up?
Good question, right now the famed statue is probably in storage somewhere. But my guess is somewhere near where Card March takes place so the players can touch it as they make their way into the stadium.
27. Will beer continue to be sold at PJCS?
Of course it will. I only included this in here because fans freak out each summer when false rumors are made about rumored alcohol bans. Grab a cold one and piss off your section each time you stumble over them to get another round.
26. Will Micky Crum kill a guy?
There is strong possibility. Micky had to take a back seat to Keith Towbridge and Cole Hikutini last season once they finally became healthy so he could not baptize defenders as he wanted to. That changes this year. Two seasons ago, he nearly decapitated a guy from Clemson,…. last I checked that guy is still searching for his keys. Then two weeks later he destroyed another guy at NC State when Lamar tucked and ran. (Grabs popcorn and waits)
25. Will 3rd down music finally change?
Nothing screams “let’s sack the QB” like Van Halen’s “Right Now”. Each time I hear it I want to grab a Clear Pepsi and watch Kurt Loder on MTV. Thanks to K-Dogg the selection has began to improve. Let’s hope the song is retired this season.
24. Will we see Dae Williams at all this year?
I highly doubt it. I know he is recovering well and has began running after suffering a torn ACL back in the Spring, but I don’t see Petrino rushing him back. Likely he will get a medical redshirt and be ready next season. With Jeremy Smith, Malik Williams, Reggie Bonnafon, and now Colin Wilson in the mix I would not bet on seeing Williams until the Spring game in 2018
23. Who starts at RB?
I would be lying if I said I really believed Reggie Bonnafon would be our starting RB. Starting receiver, yeah. Backup QB, sure!!! Starting RB, no way. But here we are and I think in 30 days he gets the first few carries of the season. We now have the services of Jeremy Smith and Malik Williams but I think Reggie is our speed back while Smith is our Bruiser. Colin Wilson could play this year but I would not be surprised if the play of Reggie and Jeremy Smith could have him redshirted and saved for 2018. Not to mention Trey Smith will probably see a few plays as well.
22. What true freshman could see the field?
Well, Cole Bentley is a given, as well as C.J. Avery so they can already take a seat at the 2017 table. Russ Yeast, Kemari Averett, Dorian Etheridge, and Colin Wilson could join them there.
21. What home games scream “NOONER”
Some like them, most hate them. Nothing like kegs and eggs to start your Saturday in the fall. Noon games and Cardinal football are the married couple who stayed together for the kids. Sometimes it works, the majority of the time it’s a pain in the a__. My guess is you should set you alarm clock for the Kent State, Murray State, Virginia, and Syracuse games. At least all of our home games are on Saturday this year.
20. Will fans continue to complain about fans?
Come on fam, you already know the answer to this. Fans will complain about empty seats, late arriving crowds, party deck socializing, the band’s halftime show, music volume, yada yada yada. I used to be one of those fans, then I realized I am there to watch a game and not some 45 year old chugging beers and cat calling the Ladybirds (more on this later). Focus on the team folks, you will wish you could once the dead season hits.
19. Will Trevon Young be his old self?
Lord willing!!! That guy was a beast for much of 2015 and then a freak play in the Music City bowl halted all of that. Now he is healthier, and hungry. Assuming he stays that way he has a shot to have a special season. Pick your poison, do you want to get tackled by James Hearns or Trevon? Neither?? Ok well here is Stacy Thomas as your consolation prize.
18. Will Slappies continue to attend Louisville games?
Three things in life are certain. Death, taxes, and UK fans at Louisville games, no matter the sport. The obsession will continue this season unfortunately. I would say they are brave for attending a Louisville event wearing rival apparel, but bravery and stupidity are two separate things. I just wonder what makes a UK fan ignore their own team to attend a game of so called “little brother”. I am happy to be little brother, especially since big brother is unemployed, stays in our grandma’s basement, eats spam sandwiches, and has a endless supply of Tang under his air mattress. Thanks for supporting Cardinal Athletics.
17. Will Puma Pass ease doubts ?
I am only adding this because of how some fans reacted after watching Pass play in the Spring Game. Pass will be fine, he is in the best possible hands and if (Lord forbid) Lamar has to come out of the game I fully trust Pass will be able to carry the offense. I am excited to see him play this year.
16. Will Peter Sirmon ease doubts ?
I admit, the first thing I did when hearing we hired him was look at his defense while at Mississippi State. After I regained consciousness I looked up his other credentials and popped a few Rolaids. I learned that he was dealing with a group of newcomers at MSU and had some other issues that he had to navigate through. I had my fair share of criticism for Todd Grantham especially on 3rd down plays. But the guy did have us ranked in the top 20 every year in total defense. However, Sirmon is a great recruiter and seems to be a coach that gets the most out of his players. Per player comments, he has changed the terminology in play calling that will allow the defense to be prepared for each play. So hopefully he will fare well with a more experienced group. We are rooting for him.
15. Will QB’s continue to test Jaire Alexander?
Not if they’re smart. When Deshaun Watson was drafted by the Texans he threw up a peace sign to the crowd. It was intercepted by Alexander. Enjoy him this year, I am 99.999% sure he is going pro.
14. Can this team match the 2004 offense?
There have been some great offenses to come through UofL. But none like the 2004 offense. It wasn’t a question of IF they would score, it was how much. To date, no team has been able to touch them, and if I am wrong I am sure stat guru Kelly Dickey will “well actually” me. But with the return of the Heisman winner, a talented group of WR’s, and an improved offensive line coached my Mike Summers, I would not be surprised to see a fair share of 50-60 point games this year.
13. Will Petrino keep 4th year streak alive?
My boy Justin Renck pointed out in his post the other day about how each Petrino-led team has performed exceptionally well in his fourth year. His first stint we went to Orange Bowl in his 4th year. He took Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl in his 4th year with an 11-2 record. The schedule sets up nicely so it is possible we reach double digit wins this year.
12. Can Petrino keep the team focused?
This has been an issue since forever. At some point late in the year the team seems to lose focus and intensity. It seemed after the Clemson game last year some of the steam was lost although Louisville made a strong push for the playoffs. Then Ed Oliver and Houston curb stomped that dream and, well, you know what happened the following week. Hopefully this is the year that the team finally stays zoned in.
11. Will Jaylen Smith be a household name in the ACC?
Hell, he should have been last year. All he did was catch long TD passes and then eyeball your wife as he walked back to the sideline. For a time, he was torching secondaries but then defenses caught on late. He wears the #9 jersey so he is already following great Card wide-outs like Deion Branch and DeVante Parker. Give Lamar time to throw and give Jaylen Smith time to get open, TD’s will be scored, and your wife will be accosted. You have been warned.
10. What redshirt freshman am I excited to see?
Dez Fitzpatrick and Keion Wakefield come to mind. But honestly I am interested to see Chris Taylor-Yamanoha out of California. He has toggled between defensive back and wide receiver over the past year but I really think he has a home on offense. Go watch his highlight film, he will definitely be an important piece to our offense. Also, his folks Rudy and Rachel Yamanoha follow me on Twitter and its nice to have allies on the West Coast. Shake it Cali….
9. What team(s) scares me the most?
Not going to lie, this may be the year NC State finally lives up to the hype. They return a nasty defense and I am sure they didn’t appreciate that 54 points we put on them last year here in the Ville. Plus it is a Thursday night game in Raleigh. If we manage to get past them, we have a trip to Wake Forest later and they are still pissed about that whole Wakey Leaks thing. I mean, I would be mad too if the opposing team had our playbook and only decided to use it in the 4th quarter with 10 min left in the game and we give up 34 points in a matter of minutes. Wake’s defense has given us fits the past 3 years, I expect no different this year.
(**Upon realizing Wake Forest fans wear polo’s and khakis to football games they were removed from consideration**)
8. Will the Ladybirds ruin a marriage?
Married men of CardNation, listen carefully. At some point the 548 time National Champion Ladybirds will take the field and perform. You can either do one of two things. Stare straight ahead and comment ONLY if the wife does. OR, risk it all and scream out “YEAAAAHHHH” during and after the performance. The BHK has a futon and a spare room for those who chose option two. My dog has that room at the moment and he wont be happy sharing it come winter. Ask yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze.
7. Will Lamar repeat as Heisman?
Not since Archie Griffin has one accomplished this feat. And based on a recent ESPN poll Lamar is not even considered top 5. Say what?!?! I think he has a shot to make it back to NYC in December as long as he wins the big games and plays up to his potential as he did last season.
6. Will the fans in the 200 level seats calm down?
HELL. NO. They are the life of the stadium and make the atmosphere great to be a part of. I have seen some things in the 200 level seats at PJCS that I cannot mention on this site but they are a special group of fans that make home games worth while. I am an alumni of Section 212, I now reside in the 100 level seats, but I will never forget where I came from. I miss you crazy bastards.
5. Will Gameday return for the Clemson game on Sept. 16th?
As long as both teams are undefeated I don’t see any other competition on the schedule that day. FSU plays Bama to open the season and if they lose that game then their game with Miami on Sept. 16th loses some of it’s luster. Clemson faces Auburn early in Death Valley and we have a date with Purdue and UNC. If both teams enter that game 2-0 then I would expect Corso and crew to call and say “WE”RE COMIN’ TO YOUR CI-TAYYYY”
4. Will Lamar return for the Senior season?
I am not ruling anything out. It really depends on what type of season he has this year. He has gone on record to say that he wants to play QB at the next level while others insist he will be used as a receiver. Lamar has also hinted he has two more years left after last season. We shall see.
3. Will the Governor’s Cup come back home?
It took a depleted secondary, and some costly turnovers for that team down the road to snatch the trophy out of our grasp for the first time in 5 years. Coupled with that, we have to hear dumb jokes about Lamar fumbling after his Heisman pose…..which he went on to win. I expect Petrino does not want to make this a yearly thing and as long as we are healthy at the end of the year I think we bring it back.
2. Is this the year we finally beat Clemson?
3 games. 3 final possessions. 3 gut wrenching losses. 15 lousy points. We can play with them, that is for sure. But it will take more to win that game. This year feels like the FSU game did last year and we all remember how that worked out. Clemson has a lot of voids to fill on offense but on defense they are loaded. While Choke-hold Boulware has moved on they still have Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence returning. Throw in Hunter Renfro and Ray-Ray McCloud on offense and Dabo returns a great team. This feels like the year, but we all have to see it to believe it.
1. What will our final record be?
I am an realist so I try to see things from both sides. Louisville has a great team but there are some questions on both sides of the ball that we all need answered. I think best case scenario we finish 10-2 on the season and make a decent bowl game. I think worse case we see another 9-3 campaign. Doomsday scenario we go 7-5. I cannot help but notice Petrino has that little sh*t eating grin displayed when asked about his team. So he knows something we don’t. Last time I saw that grin it ended with Lamar hoisting the Heisman trophy.
Bonus question. Will anyone take my Bucket Hat Crown?
And there you have it folks. I hope we all bear witness to a great season. I hope the beer is cold and the meats are smoked to perfection. I hope to meet most of you in Indy as we paint the town red. I hope the Netflix binge watches keep you occupied for the next month. I hope the wins are plentiful and the L’s are forever raised.